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Special Olympics athletes to compete in National Games

Press Release – Special Olympics NZ
More than 1250 athletes with intellectual disabilities from 42 Special Olympics Clubs and three schools are to take part in the 2017 Special Olympics National Summer Games, from 26 November to 1 December in Wellington, the Hutt Valley and Porirua.

Held every four years, the Games is New Zealand’s largest event for people with intellectual disabilities and will see athletes of all ages compete in swimming, athletics, basketball, bocce, equestrian, football, golf, indoor bowls, powerlifting, and tenpin bowling.

“We have a 32% increase in athlete and coach registrations compared to 2013 when we last held this event in Dunedin. Our youngest athlete taking part at these Games is aged nine and our oldest athlete is 74! We have no quotas for this event in any of our 11 sports so this means that any athlete that has qualified and wishes to take part in this event can do so, irrespective of their ability level. We are not about elite sport but you can be sure that every competing athlete will be doing their utmost to achieve a personal best”, said Special Olympics New Zealand Chief Executive Kathy Gibson.

As well at the athletes, an army of coaches, management and volunteers are also gearing up for the Games. Over 500 coaches and management staff are attending to support their athletes, and around 600 local volunteers have been recruited.

“All up, around 3000 people will be involved in the event, cheered on by many more family, friends and supporters – it’s a real community event,” Kathy said.

“It is really special for us to be hosting the event in Wellington for the first time. The region has special meaning to Special Olympics New Zealand, as it is the region where our founders Grant and Wendy Quinn founded the movement in New Zealand more than 30 years ago.”

The Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics New Zealand National Summer Games will be held at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua on Monday 27 November. Events are being held throughout the Wellington, Hutt Valley and Porirua areas throughout the week.

During the Games, Special Olympics New Zealand will also run a Healthy Athletes Programme delivered by more 70 volunteer clinicians. Athletes will be offered screenings focused on hearing, eye sight, dental care, and podiatry. This programme will begin on Sunday 26 November.

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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